The first Vikingarännet took place 1999.
A special feature of Vikingarännet is that the start and finish are at different locations. The race starts in Sweden’s fourth largest city, Uppsala, and has its finishing point in Stockholm, making this race unique.
How it started
Vikingarännet was inspired by the “Eleven-Town-Race” which is run in Holland. The Eleven-Town-Race has taken place four times since 1963 (1963, 1985, 1986 and 1997). After the 1997 race the winner and a number of dutchmen from skating organisations in Holland visited the Stockholm area. Their hosts were Anders Tysk and Björn Nilsson among others.
A pilot study was commissioned by SIS (Stockholm Information Service) to determine how often it would be possible to arrange such a long-distance race in the Stockholm area.
The pilot study showed that the only route of real interest was between Uppsala and Stockholm. Further west the lakes are more open and these tend to freeze over at a later date and are less safe than other parts of the lake. Skating several laps on a smaller lake was not considered a serious alternative.
Contacts were made with the clubs which arrange tour skating around Stockholm, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), the national Swedish Administration of Shipping and Navigation, the recreational fishing clubs and Stockholm Harbour Authority. Analysis of statistics cnocluded that the ice would support a major race.
On the basis of the pilot study, the SIS gave the go-ahead and Vikingarännet became a reality. In order to increase its attraction to serious skaters, the Swedish skating association and Friluftsfrämjandet became organisers.